It is by a feel of astonishment that I read news / articles on mental health of men during the lockdown days. My astonishment was nothing else than that the word “ mental health “ unveiled itself from the stigma of being a hushed topic that was ever before. It was not only the news or articles, many memes and social media posts started appearing, citing the seriousness of the issue apart from the fact that many governments had started serious plans to tackle the issue of mental health by giving online counselling , creating help desks etc .,while fighting the biggest of epidemics.
I stand by the government for their action. Of course, mental health of its subjects should be given priority and has to be tackled with utmost seriousness. No arguments. But what I am pointing out here is another issue- an issue of mental health that had always been there on the same platform since decades and centuries, but never given due importance.
Look around your society. Pick a home maker in random. Ask her whether she had undergone depression. The answer would be yes. Lucky are those women who can at least say that they had undergone depression. There are millions of the same genres who do not even realise that they are / were undergoing depression or any mental health issues.
The educated lot understands it far better and tries to tackle it with a bit more ease. The other lot undergoes the trauma in utter silence because they do not know what they are suffering from or they do not know how to express themselves. They also do not open up because there is hardly anyone – no governments either – to listen to them.
Home makers- the house wives – are the biggest of the lot who undergo mental health issues, regardless of age.
Sanjana is a cute house wife with two sons and a successful husband. She seems to be cheerful and active all the day who finishes her duties on time. The minute her husband and children leave home , she undergoes a sense of panic which she manages to bring down by binging sweets.
Ragini manages it by visiting her neigbours and gossiping about the rest. She even goes to an extend of enjoying character assassination of her peers.
A well-off Reeta knows what she is going through, but many a times things become out of control when her hormones too play aside. Menstrual cycles and the corresponding hormonal changes add fuel to fury.
Mallika is not alone at home. She has an extended family to ’support ‘ her. She is never humiliated or over loaded with work. But there is a sense of distancing when it comes to opening up about her thoughts. She manages to handle this emotional loneliness by texting and calling her once boyfriend. By doing so, she feels being loved, appreciated and heard.
The other one is Ananya who has a healthy baby – 6 months old. A loving husband. Her parents and in-laws keep themselves away from the couple inorder not to ‘disturb’ the young couple’s romantic life. But for Ananya, more than romance, it is all about sleep depreciation, over exertion and postpartum depression being hitting hard. She tries opening up to her husband, but all he could find out is her “own wild imagination admidst a beautiful family life”.
Now look at these characters around you. I bet you have seen, or you are one among these. These women have any one of the mental discomfort. It can be named as Depression, anxiety disorders, panic attacks, if consulted clinically. We know that these illnesses can lead to self-hatred or withdrawal.
Why are their words not heard?
Their words are not heard because after the initial confusions, their mental disturbances become so used to their life that it becomes their life itself. They just immerse in the brutality of the mind unknowingly that it becomes very hard to distinguish their happy self from the unhappy self.
Now, coming back to the scenario of lock down prevailing now, ( Let me keep aside the other bigger issues like economics and finance) it pours to men an immense amount of support from different sectors like health departments and the Government itself to take care of their mental health. They are being sympathised as “ We know how hard it is to be inside the house “.
Why didn’t this sympathy arise when the other gender sat inside their dark houses for whole life? Did that mean that ‘ yes they have to- it is their Karma to sit inside the dark rooms, there will be no help offered or no ears to listen !? “
To wind off, I do not have a least conclusion to keep. But , I urge my women folks to understand your mind better. Your temperament, your frustrations and your emotional vulnerability can also be due to the chains that bound your legs. When you shout to your children next time, remember, you are not a bad mother; you are just being tuned to be frustrated mother by the locks that had locked down you for years together.
An interviewer asked a leading actress as to what is most needed for a woman. She said that it is appreciation. Yes, more than love, women need to be appreciated. My statement doesn’t say that men should appreciate women. It is general. Women, appreciate your peers. Clap for them , applaud for them. If she puts her achievements in your group, just appreciate her. Just feel happy for her. You will have no clue how much a small gesture of support can build her character.
Woman, next time the world opens to everybody, consider yourself as one who qualifies to go out and achieve what you would want. Go out for shopping. Go out to learn something new. Go out to exercise. Go out to beauty salons. Go out to the Zumba classes. Go out. Go out simply. Because your mental health is one of the greatest assets of the country, which politicians, the government and the society leave unrecognised.
Author : Shreeja Prashanth,